Kansas News

Giroux announces bid for 4th Congressional District

DanGirouxWICHITA – Dan Giroux, a native Wichitan and local attorney, announced his candidacy Oct. 1 for the U.S. House of  Representatives, seeking to represent Kansas’ 4th Congressional District; a position currently held by Mike Pompeo. A graduate of Northwest High School and Newman University, Giroux has lived in the district for 33 years.

    “I am running to give a voice to everyday Kansans in Washington. The people of this community need an effective leader who cares about our hard-working middle-class families and understands the struggles families face each day. As someone who grew up here, went to school here and is raising a family here, I feel that Washington is out of touch with the  needs of our community and we need to correct that before the American Dream is lost.

    “Kansas needs an advocate for working families in Washington,” said Giroux. “The economic state of our district is in crisis and will continue to be so as long as we continue down the current path.


Support for the transgender community: WiTCoN

Way-FirstPrideBy Grayson Barnes

WICHITA - Some people come out of the closet. Brenda Way came OFF the toolbox. She had been on tiptoe there, ready to kick it out from under herself – a rope tied around her neck. Then she realized only by living could she make a change. That change was the development of the Wichita Transgender Community Network (WiTCoN) with her friend (now partner), Elle Boatman.

    Way was inspired to start the organization because she had attended events in the community, like those by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), and felt like she was the only transgender person there. She wanted to come up with a means for transgender people to recognize, support, and socialize with each other -- to show transgender people that they can be loved, are loved, and that the majority of their love will come from other people who understand, like other transgender folk and their allies.  


21st Annual Wichita Alternative Gift Market announces new location for 2015

WICHITA - Wichita Alternative Gift Market volunteer steering committee members are pleased to announce that the 2015 market will be held at East Heights United Methodist Church, whose members have been longtime partners at the market.

    Join hundreds of shoppers at the 21st annual Wichita Alternative Gift Market, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10am-4pm at East Heights UMC, 4407 E. Douglas. The market, co-hosted by dozens of local service groups and congregations, takes place each year on the second Saturday of November, and is one of hundreds of such markets across the country.

    Alternative gifts do exactly what traditional gifts do: express love and celebrate occasions. But alternative gifts are different: they are things like food for pantries and shelters in the U.S. and Canada, scholarships for students in Haiti, or milk-providing yaks for children in China. Shoppers can purchase these tax-deductible gifts to honor family and friends, then present to them a beautiful greeting card with a gift insert describing the project supported.


Riverfest officials remind citizens: ‘You’re the fest!’

RiverfestApplications now available for the poster contest, festival entertainers, event organizers and food vendors

WICHITA – Wichita Festivals, Inc. officially kicked off the Riverfest planning season by reminding the citizens of Wichita that, “You’re the Fest!” and releasing application forms for Riverfest 2016.

    Artists are encouraged to enter the Riverfest Poster & Button Artwork Contest, sponsored by Emprise Bank. Riverfest is also seeking entertainers of all kinds, as well as food vendors and event organizers for the festival.


Points of Interest

Innovation and invention in theater

One of the ways in which Baker is fostering a creative spirit – and providing practical experience – is through the continued development of a device he created 10 years ago when he came to Wichita State.

    At the time, the theater program was performing The Tempest, a production that required two projectors with dowsers – projector attachments that automatically block “gray light” from the lens when the projector is turned off, allowing for a full blackout of the theater.

    The dowsing equipment available commercially would have eaten their entire scenic and lighting budget. So Baker fashioned his own dowser with some cardboard, gaffers tape, paint poles and a pair of freshmen with strong shoulders.

    But for their next performance, there was no room in the back of the theater for someone to stand and hold the handmade dowser. After several attempts at a variety of solutions, Baker developed a prototype that was battery operated and quieter than a college student.

    The final product, which Baker named the ProDowser and sells hundreds of each year, has been used successfully at WSU ever since, with slight improvements. But in that time, it has grown to be more than a device. It’s now a model that Baker is using to teach his students about innovation and invention. l


Theater program at Wichita State creates opportunities for innovation

EdBakerWICHITA - Innovation isn’t perhaps the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the theater. But for Ed Baker, associate professor and technical director in the Wichita State University School of Performing Arts, it’s a passion.

     “Virtually every university in the U.S. teaches the technical skills for making a play,” he says. “I am building a way to teach students the skills to make a career in the theater.”

    Over the next two years, a group of Baker’s technical theater majors will be tasked with developing their own devices for use in productions. It’s more than a class project; the students involved in the development will eventually decide whether to seek patents or sell the rights to what they’ve created.

    Baker says Performing Arts faculty are continuing to find other ways to foster innovation in the school with the advancement of “green” theater technology, experimenting with different filming methods and learning more about the intellectual property process.


KC’s LGBT Community Center announces a Night of Comedy at the Folly

KANSAS CITY – The 2015 annual fundraiser of LIKEME Lighthouse, Kansas City’s LGBT Community Center, will be held at the Folly Theater on Friday, Nov. 13, and features performers Michael Ian Black, Carson Kressley, Fortune Feimster, Dana Goldberg, and special guest Ty Herndon.  

    The Shine A Light Awards will be given to National Honoree Actor Wilson Cruz and Kansas City Councilperson Jolie Justus.

    This is the fourth LIKEME Lighthouse fundraiser. Previously featured were Alan Cummings, Hal Sparks, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, and Chely Wright.

    The LIKEME® Organization was founded in March 2010 by country music star Chely Wright. The LIKEME® board of directors, composed of well-known public figures from across the country who support the LGBT movement, wanted to do more of a grassroots effort and voted to open an LGBT community center for the Midwest. The Kansas City area was chosen for the  center, which was named the LIKEME® Lighthouse. It opened its doors in March 2012 at 3911 Main St.

    For more information, Lead Administrator Willow Parsons is available from noon-4pm on weekdays, 816-753-7770 or visit www.likemelighthouse.org.


Think “consignment” as an alternative option for holiday shopping

By Blake Hampton
WICHITA - Consignment and resale stores are meeting in Wichita to promote, grow, and learn from each other: promoting themselves and other Wichita local businesses, finding more ways to expand their inventory, and learning new ways to run their stores. Since June, about 17 store owners have come together to have meetings. From Sweet Repeats to Memories of Home all the way in Rose Hill, these independent stores are helping each other.

    I had the pleasure of talking with Pia Schwamman (owner of Fit for a Queen) and Rebecca Whitely (owner of 2nd to None) about the group, how it’s helped their respective businesses, and what they would like to see in the future.

    For each monthly meeting the group goes to a different store so they’re not meeting in one spot. This also allows them to see the different neighborhoods and communities that the members are a part of, and to see first-hand how they take care of their respective stores. “Pia sort of spearheads the group with discussion topics,” Whitely said.


COVER LibertyPress-shadow 11-15


WSU Theater

WSU Theater

Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.